So you’ve bought your piece of online real estate. There’s only one thing left to do, increase its value. Unlike physical real estate, online real estate doesn’t just naturally increase its value with time. We’ll have to put in a whole lot to make it valuable, profitable even. The only way your website can be of any use to you is if there are people seeing it, , engaging with it, sharing it, buying through it and all that jazz. The best way to do this is by having as high a website traffic as you possibly can at any given time. Sounds simple. Easy though? Not so much. I’m here to help you through this, so put off your worry hat and let’s get to it.
Presentation Is Everything… Almost
Ralf Speth said it best, “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Keep It Simple Stupid… but you’re not stupid you’re sexy. This 1960 US Navy acronym still holds true in a lot of things. Simplicity is actually a lot harder than complexity. Being able to take complexities and narrow them down to essential simplicities is art and critical thinking at its best. The basic principle is; keep only what is absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that people also resonate with the familiar more than a new “amazing” design you may have in mind.
Create your website in a way that it’s easy, instinctive and obvious to navigate around. Also, make your web copy leading. Moving towards the most important thing you’d want to tell your audience. Let them know your intentions early on, in a slick way of course, to avoid making the audience feel deceived and reduce their trust in you.
Load time you guys! Nothing is more annoying than seeing an exciting headline, you click on it and nothing, you just wait… wait… and wait some more. I always press the back button and leave my curiosity to load on to a faster and sadly less exciting headline. Use CDN (Content delivery network) to boost your website’s load time and boost your website traffic.
Avoid giving your visitors too many options, this confuses them and they’re more likely to pick no option at all.
Be consistent with the look and feel of your website all through. Harmony is the greatest force of nature, people.
Optimize for mobile. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to do this. Google even uses a “mobile first ranking system”. This shows you how much of your audience is probably viewing your website through mobile. Make it compatible with every possible device out there to avoid losing any potential viewer due to a poor UX.
To get a great design you may need to interact with users to know what they like best. Keep an open mind and most of all, a happy mind, as this will translate to your work.
Another thing, you know that thing some websites do, where they put this pop up in your face that can’t be closed. A way of forcing you to put your e-mail address and details before you can continue viewing their website? Don’t do that! It is annoying and may reduce your website traffic.
Know Thy Audience
The sooner we realize that it’s not about us, the better. Be user centric, within reasonable limits of course. Know what your visitors want and need. There are a number of ways to do this:
Monster Insights and Google Analytics show your visitor’s percentage interest in different topics. Find out what else your visitors are interested in to know what else you can offer them. “It’s easier to cross-sell/upsell to your current client than to get a new client”. This is the concept used here. It can also help you know if you’re reaching the right audience.
Use a cheat sheet. Look at your best performing work and work along those lines. You can even refurbish the content by turning it into a video or podcast to share on your social media for a re-reach.
Find out what’s turning your visitors off; also known as bounce rate. It’s not always a bad thing because they might just have been looking for something else but this, more often than not, should always be decreased. The average time spent on a website is 15 seconds. This is all the time you have to hook your audience. To check your bounce rate, go to the left-hand toolbar on the dashboard of your Google Analytics. Click on “audience overview”, on the behaviors section, click the drop down “site content”. Select “all pages” and you’ll have a run-down of how each of your pages are performing. Look into what are the normal bounce rates for your industry, it’s not the same for all industries. I analogize this to taking the heart pulse rate of your website traffic.
Great Content Wins… Every Time!
I don’t think I need to say this but let me just say it, KEEP IT ORIGINAL! You have to know what you’re talking about and how to say it in a way that informs, educates and entertains. Even Marshall McLuhan, the media guru said, “Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either” period!.
Keep your website updated, not only so your work remains… well… up to date but also so your visitors can see a newer date on your posts. Humans, you know us and shiny new things.
Avoid long sentences and increase visual content. Human beings process images better than words so filling your website with images every now and then as they scroll through, gives your audience a breath of fresh air while lighting them up. This keeps them engaged and helps you communicate more effectively.
Stay consistent with your brand and please… please be nice. Don’t try to be funny by insulting your audience. Treat them like the Kings and Queens they are. After all, they’re the ones determining how much money will roll into your bank account this month so again, be nice!
Amp Up Your Visibility
Once you have everything in place; a nice looking website, good content, and enough knowledge about your audience to know who you’re talking to. Now, onto distribution. Word has it that 92% of searchers only click from the first page. I know, it’s crazy that the whole world’s trying to get on a 8-12 only first page but that’s just the way it is. There are however a couple of ways you can increase your chances of playing in the big leagues.
- Keep your headlines in the sweet spot i.e. between 6-8 words. Use power words to fire up your potential visitor into clicking on your website. These are words that psychologically turn on a switch in the mind of the viewer. They can either turn on their greed (God forgive us) e.g. profit, pay zero, bonanza, frenzy, bargain. It can turn on their fear like; epidemic, agony, blood curling. Just a dab though, too much fear is a turn off, and by the way, these are also industry specific. Some words may work in one industry but not another, so readers beware. You can use words that spark curiosity, trust etc. See where I’m going with this? The idea is to make them feel something, anything. It is like a steroid jab to your website traffic.
- Look up your topic and note the google suggestions coming up to know the highest ranking keywords and use those exact words all over your website. Clearly, it’s a word game. The one with the most appropriate words wins. Look at the “related searches” as well for more keywords. You can also use SEMrush, SpyFu or any other similar platform to look at the highest ranking website’s keywords and use those keywords to increase your ranking.
- Answer frequently asked questions. Search your topic and go to the “People also ask” section of the front page. Copy-paste these questions exactly as they are and answer them on your website to move you up the ranks.
- Make use of free tools like “LSI Graph” and “Answer the Public” to get Latent Semantic Indexing keywords. These are the words that help the google algorithm understand what you’re talking about.
- You know that first answer that comes up when you google something. Like a summary of your answer that gives you an overview of what you’re looking for. These are called Google Search Snippets. To increase the chances of your website showing up here (forget the first page, this is the big cheese), get really good at SEO, monitoring and formatting. No other way around it.
- Convert your downloadables into blogs. Your downloads can’t show up on Google search but you know what can… Exactly! This will make your website a lot more searchable.
Maximize Your Reach Through Social Sites
You do know that we can’t not mention the freest and widest distribution platform; social. To maximize your reach through social sites, follow me…
- Giveaways are one of the easiest ways to build your e-mail list, increase engagement and improve shareability. Ask your visitor to do something like, share your post, like it, follow you on your social site of choice or subscribe to your e-mail newsletter before they can access the gift.
- Run Twitter polls that relate to everyone. Add trending hashtags to increase your reach. Send a press release from the poll to get the attention of Google News and other websites. You can also run polls straight from your website to your visitors if you like.
- Join groups, forums and be an active member. Leave links to your website when appropriate. You can write a post and link it to your website as a source. This is a suave way of marketing yourself without looking self-promotional. This increases your website traffic while giving your website a backlink; improving your ranking on Google search. Answer high ranking questions on Quora or other fora and give your website link as a source as well. Up up and away your rankings go.
- Use push notifications on your e-mail list to inform them of new posts. Since they’re already subscribed to your newsletter or whatever it is you’re offering on e-mail, they are more likely to click on the notification.
- Consider influencer marketing. Aren’t we all just tired of all the social endorsements though? “Try Nanak Olive Oil for softer skin” I don’t think I can take another influencer pushing a brand. I know you probably feel the same, but who is influencing you makes all the difference. Most people have become immune to such promotions but the clever influencer will know how to flip it and advertise your website in an exciting new way.
Look for opportunities to guest post on high traffic websites. Reach out to the owners/editors of these sites, just try your luck. Once you get in, which I know you will if you reach out to enough sites, give a link to your website and watch the viewers roll in.
Network with podcasters and try to get on their show. Shoot the audience with your link and voila, wider reach, higher website traffic.
Reply to comments on your web posts and ask questions that give you the chance to tell them about your other post. E.g. “The first man on earth could have very well been of lighter toned skin since all our palms are light colored the world over. What do you think caused different races?” There’s a good chance he/she will reply, then you’ll say, “Check out this post “We’re all brown people” [link] for more information.” Or something like that. Cross-selling 101!
Cheers! To more website traffic online and less offline.